Saturday, March 30, 2013

What We're Waiting For

It feels like everyone around me is having babies right now.  While I'm beyond thrilled for them and can't wait to meet their new little ones, I'm feeling such mixed emotions.

In my early 20's, I always said I didn't want kids, and that I just wanted to be the cool aunt to my sister's kids.  My mom prayed that I would change my mind, and inside, I hoped I would too.  Part of me told myself that I didn't want kids because I thought I'd never meet Mr. Right and I didn't want to be supremely let down when/if kids weren't a reality.  Other parts of me were horrified at the thought of child birth and felt like children were cooler when they were someone else's.  You can say that kids weren't even a glimmer in my eye at that age.

When I got into my late 20's, my mind did change.  I decided that I would want my kids to take care of me when I was old, and I wanted kids who had the same kind of relationship with me that I have with my mom (she's pretty spectacular, as moms go).  I also knew that by saying that, I was also facing the need to find a suitable life partner and co-parent for these kids in my dreams, and that was SO scary.  What if I never met The One?  What if I ended up alone at 40, and needed to pursue artificial insemination or adoption?  I seriously thought about this daily and prayed that I'd meet the right guy sooner rather than later.  I knew I wanted more than a baby daddy for my kids, but admitting that I now needed to find that guy was daunting.  I was still horrified at the thought of child birth, but hoped that an epidural would save me someday.

At 29, I met Hubs and I knew very early on that he would be a great dad.  We fell in love, got hitched and agreed that we would wait a year to a year and a half before trying to conceive.  I knew we had time, but everyone kept asking, "You're married now, what are you waiting for??"  At the time, I said that we were just giving ourselves time to enjoy married life, but part of me was ready to try right away.  But, I was loving sleeping in on the weekends, going wherever, whenever with Hubs, and having extra money for fun stuff.  We, collectively, just weren't ready.

A few months ago, baby fever kicked in BIG TIME.  Like gale force winds blowing baby dreams around in my mind, the swirling cylcone of baby thoughts would just.not.end.  I was ready, but circumstances in my life weren't ideal.  While I have an amazing husband and family, we were waiting.

Waiting for a bigger house.

Waiting for a bigger savings account.

Waiting for me to have the right job.

Now people say that you never feel 100% ready for a baby, but things for us aren't even close to ready.  We live in a 928 square foot condo, the condo I owned since my single days but have been unable to sell due to declining housing values.  We don't have the kind of savings account that makes me feel comfortable with kids in the picture.  I just left my job.  Yeah, things aren't ideal.

I want kids so bad right now, and it just makes me sad.  I feel like all of this kid business hinges on me, and the pressure I've put on myself is astronomical.  Especially now that I'm jobless and praying for the right opportunity to come along, it seems like my biological clock is ticking faster and louder than ever.  TICK TOCK.  Hubs would be fine waiting another 5 years if I wanted, but I'm not getting any younger and I can't really afford to take that long. That's what happens when you marry a guy that's younger than you.

It helps that my twin sister is currently pregnant, which takes some of the pressure from the parentals off of me for now, but I know that won't last forever.  They will be wanting more grandkids, and I'll be dying for little ones of my own.  Seeing my sister's baby is going to make my baby fever kick in even harder, and it's going to be hard putting this off any more.

I'm praying that in the next couple of months, things in my life fall into place and circumstances become more ideal for kids.  In the meantime, I'll be cooing over Instagram and Facebook pictures of everyone's kids, dreaming of the day when I'll have one of my own.  My fingers are crossed hoping that the day we're waiting for is coming soon.  We're waiting, but hopefully not for long.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Favorite Things Swap Reveal

Who loves a good surprise?  Definitely this girl, right here!  I've always been appreciative of surprises, whether they be with gifts, my engagement proposal or finding $10 in an old coat pocket.  Surprises are one of my little joys in life.  This is also the reason that I love participating in blog swaps so much. 

I recently participated in the Favorite Things Swap hosted by Amber and Vicki, where we were tasked with sending our own favorite items to our partners.

  


I had the pleasure of being paired with a fun beauty blogger, Nikki, who blogs at makeupHER.  Nikki sent me four of her favorite beauty products in a cute little black bag.


I received Neutrogena Make-up Remover Cleansing Towelettes, China Glaze nail polish in Pink Plumeria, Silk Drops Hair Serum, and L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Carbon Black mascara.  The note card that Nikki included also has a yummy brownie recipe on the back.

Nikki mentioned in her card that the mascara was one of her Holy Grail items, so I immediately sprinted to the bathroom to try this out.  I can see why Nikki loves this so much, because it made my eyelashes look AMAZING!!  I think this gives my previous favorite mascara (Benefit They're Real!) a run for its money.  I have been using this constantly since I received it last week.

The Neutrogena Make-up Remover towelettes were great and did a wonderful job removing my tough mascara and eyeliner.  Love them.  The Silk Drops made my hair extremely smooth and soft, and the China Glaze polish will be used at my next pedicure.  

Yay for fun beauty products!  Thanks a million to Nikki for sharing some of her favorite products with me!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Best Weekend

I know I'm a tad bit late for posting a weekend recap post, but darn it, I've been busy lately!

This past weekend, Hubs and I took a little trip to Orlando to see my sister and brother-in-law, as well as my parents who were visiting too.  I love getting to see everyone together, since it doesn't really happen very often anymore.

We all converged upon O-Town for the most special of events:  The 3D ultrasound for my sister and brother-in-law's little girl!  It was truly awesome seeing her for the first time, and I was totally in love.  She finally looks like a real baby, complete with a cute little button nose, long fingers and long feet.  I hope she grows up to be tall, unlike the rest of her family!  She was a total wiggle worm, too, but that was probably due to my sister having had a Snickers bar and a Coke before we went for the viewing.  At one point, the baby decided to flip us the bird from the womb, proving that she is in fact part Moody and part Cook.  We even got a picture of it...


Yep, a distinct middle finger.  Pardon the fuzzy picture, it was literally snapped off the big screen tv in the room as this little gem was happening.  That poor little girl is going to hear about that for the rest of her life!

After the 3D ultrasound was complete, we headed off to Giordano's for Chicago-style pizza.  I missed this pizza SO much!!  The Tampa location was one of our favorites until it closed down last year.  Thankfully, Orlando still has one on International Drive, so we like to stop in when we visit.  On our way home, we took my mom to Wawa for her first mega-Wawa experience.  She thought it was great and we each grabbed one of their delicious muffins for a snack.  I got the Coffee Cake Muffin, and it was to die for!

In the afternoon, my mom, sister and I went out shopping for baby stuff and items for the baby shower I'll be hosting in a couple of weeks.  Can I just tell you how much I love Hobby Lobby??  They have EVERYTHING, and is a dream come true for crafters and home decorators.  My wallet is actually happy that there isn't one of these close to where I live in Tampa or else it would be in pain all.the.time.  Having a Michael's a mile away is bad enough!

We went out to dinner with my parents on Saturday night, and my mom took this cute picture of me and my hubby.


Why yes, that is a squirrel playing a banjo on top of a Marshall stack on my hubby's t-shirt.  I even bought it for him, even though I think it's weird.

On Sunday, Hubs and I ate some leftover pizza for breakfast (the real breakfast of champions!) and left Orlando.  The traffic sucked, but we made it back to Tampa safely.  I had to make a stop at Pottery Barn Kids for the quilt my sister needed for her baby bedding set (her store was out of them), and then I dropped Bella and all of our bags off at home.  We then headed back out to Land O' Lakes to go to a barbecue at our friends' house.  It was a great afternoon and evening with everyone, and before we left, I grabbed a picture with this girl...


That's Jessie with me, and she's such a great friend.  I will hopefully be seeing her again this coming weekend!

That was my weekend in a nutshell.  I'm so glad we managed to make the drives to see our family and friends this weekend, even though we were tired by the time we got home on Sunday night.  Fun times all around!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Hockey Night!

My husband and I have different hobbies and interests, and part of the reason we get along so well is because we let each other enjoy the things we love.  One thing that my hubby is WAYYY passionate about is hockey.  Specifically, Philadelphia Flyers hockey.  I mean, this man bleeds orange and black, and this insane obsession is one of the reasons why orange was one of our wedding colors.

The Flyers came to town to play the Tampa Bay Lightning this week, and of course we were there, sporting our flying P's and orange.  We had a blast, even though the Flyers lost the game, 4-2.   Sadly, there no gruesome hockey fights to speak of, but the game was entertaining nonetheless.

Here are a couple of pictures from the game...




The pictures of Hubs and I turned out blurry, so my apologies for not showing you our stylish ensembles.  I'm sure you were dying to see that.

Truthfully, I cheer for the Lightning whenever they're not playing the Detroit Red Wings (my hometown team) and the Flyers, so hopefully we'll make it to another game or two this season.  Hubs has difficulty cheering for anyone other than the Flyers, so he can be a bit of a stick in the mud, but maybe if I bribe him with promises of soft pretzels and beer I can get him to feign interest in our local team.

Between hockey and March Madness, my cup runneth over with awesome sports.  Soon baseball season will be here and those good times will begin.  We may even go crazy and go to a baseball spring training game!

Do you like sports?
What is your favorite sport and team?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Favorite Things for Spring

When I was a kid growing up in Michigan, I struggled through dark and dreary winters, and waited anxiously for the first signs of Spring.  Because I love this season so darn much, I'm linking up today to talk about my Favorite Things for Spring!



Flowers

via tulips.com



I have had a love affair with tulips and daffodils since I was a wee child, and seeing them pop up in grocery and flower stores always meant that Spring had arrived!  My husband even incorporated tulips in his proposal and they were in my bridal bouquet.  Ah, I love them so much!  I also adore Easter Lilies, but since they bother my Hubby's allergies, we can never have them at home.  Thankfully the tulips don't bother him, so he has no reason not to pick some up for me on his way home from work!


Weather


Warm, sunshiney weather soothes my soul in a way that few things can.  That's why I love living in Florida so much--very few cold, overcast days!  Spring also means that I can use the pool again, work on my my tan, wear flip flops and wear the brightest colors.


Strawberries


Springtime means a trip to the Strawberry Festival and umpteen strawberry shortcakes, because strawberries are my favorite food EVER and they are finally in season!  I will never, ever get tired of them, and I love them in everything, like cereal, salads, cocktails and desserts.  I think they're the perfect food.


Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager


This is Abita's spring seasonal beer, and being the strawberry freak that I am, I cannot get enough of this beer!  Thankfully more stores are carrying it this year, so it's easier to find and I don't have to go far to get my fix.  Yum!

March Madness



And who could forget about the greatest show of athleticism each Spring?  March Madness is such an exciting time to be a college basketball fan, and I love watching my Michigan State Spartans take on anyone in the land.   Except Duke and maybe Indiana.  I love watching the ultra close games and feeling the rush of excitement when we finally bring home a win.  Now that it's tournament time, the team has a tough road ahead of them, but I know they'll do a great job!


What are your favorite things for Spring??
What do you look forward to every year, and what are those signs of Spring that excite you?

March Birchbox vs. Ipsy

Ah, ladies and gentlemen, it's time once again for the monthly Birchbox vs. Ipsy match-up!   It's been a lot of fun getting these monthly subscription box and bag services, and I have been thrilled to discover some of my favorite new products this way.  My husband may think it's silly, but it brings me so much joy every month!

So let's get to the face-off.

Birchbox


L to R:
Sage + Fasten Common Sense Eau de Parfum Rollerball
Macadamia Natural Oil Healing Oil Treatment
Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Masque
MAKE Silk Cream Lipstick - Maraschino Cherry
Madewell for Birchbox Nail File
MAKE Dual Phase Eye Makeup Remover

This is one of the best Birchboxes I've gotten in months!  I really love the variety of products and the size of the products is awesome.  I only got one single-use product this month (the hair masque), and the rest were all large enough for multiple uses.  For me, this is a huge win, since my previous boxes were loaded with single-use samples.  I don't know about you, but one use of a product isn't enough for me to tell if I like it or not.  I often need a second or third use to determine whether it's worth buying the full-size version of that product.

Sage + Fasten's perfume rollerball has a light fragrance that is both fruity and floral.  The primary notes are orchid, lotus flower, mango, lychee and peach, all of which make me a very happy girl.  The little rollerball is cute and perfect for quite a few uses.

The MAKE lipstick is a highly pigmented product and gives me a bright, bold red lip, which is great for a date night with my hubby or a girls night out.  The MAKE eye makeup remover combines oil and water phases to remove stubborn eye makeup.  I haven't tried this yet, but I'm hoping it works well on my waterproof mascaras.  

I was excited to get the Macadamia Natural Oil hair products.  I've seen them for awhile and wondered how well they worked.  The Healing Oil Treatment smells like the nectar of the gods... I just want to keep inhaling it!!  On my hair, the treatment oil tamed my frizzies and gave my hair a smooth overall appearance.  I haven't tried the hair masque yet, but if it smells and works like the treatment oil,  I'll probably like it.

Overall, this was a really solid box that was worth well over the $10 I spent on it.


Ipsy


L to R:
Juice Beauty Hydrating Mist
La Fresh Travel Lite Makeup Remover Wipes
yaby Eyeshadow - So Vein
yaby Eyeshadow - Sand Dune
GlamRx Magnetic Palette

To begin with, I was underwhelmed by this month's Ipsy bag.  While the nautical anchor bag is very cute, the material is thin and almost see-through.  Cute, but not my favorite bag.  I will give Ipsy credit for giving us a printed bag this month.  After several months of plain, boring bags, this month's has a little bit of personality.

I was most excited to see the large travel size Juice Beauty Hydrating Mist.  I love Juice Beauty's products (especially their oil free moisturizer), and never pass up an opportunity to try other products in their lineup.  I'm a fan of this hydrating mist, which has a light scent of rosehip, ylang ylang, resveratrol grapeseed oil and antioxidant-rich organic juices.  Some people think this smells bad or old lady-ish, but I don't mind it at all.  I also like spray toners, so I don't have an issues with misting my face with this stuff, especially in the warmer months.

The La Fresh makeup remover wipes are nice, but I don't think they remove the waterproof makeup very easily.  They get off the bulk of the makeup, though, and do leave my skin feeling fresh.

I have mixed feelings about getting more eyeshadow samples from Ispy.  This is the third month in a row where we are getting teeny, tiny pans of eyeshadow, many of which have been colors that I don't really like.  The problem with these yaby eyeshadows is that they are not well-pigmented so it takes a LOT of this shadow to show up on my skin.  I'm not totally wild about So Vein, the emerald shadow, but the only way I could apply this to get the color I want is to apply it wet.  Sand Dune is too similar to the color of my skin and didn't show up well, even when applied wet.

Finally, the GlamRx magnetic palette was really confusing.  I opened it and it was empty, so I immediately thought I had been shorted a product.  Then I read about it online and noticed that everyone's was empty.  It is meant for you to put pans of your favorite eyeshadow or blush in for travel.  While the mirror inside is a nice touch, I don't have many loose pans of eyeshadow that need homes.  What would have been nice is if this palette held all of the tiny pans of eyeshadow that Ispy has given us in recent months.  Unfortunately, the Coastal Scents pans are not magnetic, so they don't stick to the GlamRx palette.  Boooooo.  The only pans i have for this are the two new yaby pans.  I probably won't get much use out of this going forward.

I don't feel that I got $10 worth of value out of this box, but I'm sure if you add up the individual products in this box, it might equal that.  Might.

This month's winner is Birchbox!!  I'm glad to finally get a Birchbox worth bragging about.

Did you get either of these boxes/bags this month?
What did you think of yours??

Monday, March 18, 2013

Please...

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St. Patrick's Day in the 813

March and April are my favorite months of the year down here in the good ol' Sunshine State, mainly because the weather is beautiful and there are so many great springtime activities.  One of my favorite March events is St. Patrick's Day.  Who doesn't love wearing green and decorating with shamrocks and leprechauns, and of course, drinking green beer?!

This weekend, we celebrated St. Patrick's Day in the way that Tampanians know best:  a parade!  Hubs and I went down to 7th Avenue in Ybor City on Saturday night to watch the St. Pat's parade hosted by Tampa's Rough Riders.   It was sooo much fun!

In case you're not from this area, parades in Tampa area awesome drunk-fests with excellent people-watching.  Hubs and I didn't drink before or during the parade this year, but lots of people do and I don't judge.  There are bars lining the parade route, so many people pre-game at the bars, watch the parades, then go either to an after-party or another bar for post-parade festivities.  There are four major parades each spring:  Gasparilla, Gasparilla Childrens, Knight and St. Patrick's Day parades.  We missed the Gasparilla and Knight parades this year, so we HAD to go to the St. Pat's parade, which is the best of them all, in my opinion.

We always camp out in front of the Italian Club and stake out a front row spot so we can see everything.  I'm on the short side, so I hate getting stuck behind tall men who block my entire view.   

Me and Hubs (pardon my make-up free face)
The sun was setting and people were filling the streets
Parade floats coming down 7th Avenue

More Rough Riders throwing beads

I wanted to take better pictures of the floats, I really did, but there were Mardi Gras beads flying everywhere and I didn't want to risk getting smacked in the face.  That actually happened 3 times when I wasn't paying attention, but at least I tried to minimize the damage!  We did manage to catch a ton of beads, and after the parade was over, we headed down to the Cuban Club for the Rough Riders after-party.  We met up with some great friends who are in the Cuban Club's krewe, had some drinks and caught up amidst the hubbub.  

Stephenie and I enjoying our St. Pat's celebration while I do my best Mr. T impersonation

Seriously, I think I would have developed a hunchback if I'd worn all those beads much longer!  They were heavy and I was sweating with all of them around my neck, so off they went when we got back to the car.  

Hubs and I didn't venture out to the bars on Sunday to drink green beer. Instead, we ran errands and did work around the house because we didn't want to deal with the crowds.  St. Patrick's Day is usually amateur hour around here, and people get really sloppy really fast.

What did you do for St. Paddy's Day??
Did you drink green beer and pinch people who weren't wearing green?

Friday, March 15, 2013

March POPSUGAR Must Have Box

Now that it's March, it's time for everyone to start thinking about really important things.  You know, like spring break, Easter, spring fashion, and spring seasonal beer.  All critical topics that deserve to be forefront in peoples' minds, don't you think?  Well it's only appropriate then that POPSUGAR's March Must Have box fit a couple of those themes.

The POPSUGAR Must Have box features a variety of items hand-picked by POPSUGAR's editors, and even though it costs $35 per month, you are guaranteed to get at least $100 worth of products.  It's a pretty sweet deal.  Each month's box is not necessarily themed, but the products are usually appropriate for the season.

Let's see what came in March's box, shall we?


Clockwise starting at top left:

The Laundress Wool & Cashmere Shampoo ($18.99)
Hollywood Fashion Tape Assortment Pack ($1.00)
Peeps ($1.25)
True Fabrications Wine Corkatoo Corkscrew ($15.99)
Buxom Sculpted Lash Mascara ($19.00)
The New Black Nail Polish Duo - Metropolis ($10.00)
Hollywood Sweater Saver ($5.99)
Heather Belle Tassel Necklace ($72.00)

Total Value:  $144.22 

I really can't say enough good things about this box.  After last month's disappointing box, which featured two "one size fits all" products that did not, in fact, fit all, I was anxious to see what POPSUGAR would include in the March box.  I think this selection of products made up for last month's slip.

The Laundress Wool & Cashmere Shampoo is a really nice product to help care for those light spring sweaters we all love.  Some other people got a Delicates wash, which would have been even better, but I'm not disappointed with the Wool & Cashmere wash.  I also love the fragrance, Cedar, which smells like a light men's cologne.  Mmmmm.

The Hollywood Sweater Saver and Fashion Tape assortment were fun additions.  I'm no stranger to the Fashion Tape, and I've used it for everything from preventing too much cleavage to hemming my pants in a pinch.  I haven't used the Sweater Saver before, but it will be great for removing pills from my beloved cardigans.

Also on the fashion front, I received the Heather Belle Octagon Tassel necklace.  I heard that some people received earrings and bracelets, but I am really happy with this necklace.  It's gold and features geometric shapes, so it's right on trend.

The Wine Corkatoo Corkscrew is just so stinking cute!!  I love it and it will be fun to have out at parties.  I received a red one, and other people received blue and green.  They're all adorable.

Finally, the beauty products.  I was stoked to try the Buxom Sculpted Lash mascara since I've never tried this brand and it has a cool S-shaped wand.  I really liked it and thought it gave my lashed nice definition.  The nail polish by The New Black comes in a two pack, and I received navy blue and gold polishes.  The colors will be fun to try and I plan to wear them on my toes this Spring.

Finally, just to fit the Spring theme, a package of Peeps!  I will never argue with yummy sugar in the shape of little yellow chicks.

Overall, I was soooo happy with this month's box, because the fashion related items, the wine opener and the cosmetics were all up my alley.  One thing I've come to appreciate about the Must Have boxes is that each one is completely different from the next, keeping each month's experience fresh and exciting.

If you want to give POPSUGAR Must Have box a try, use the code REFERFRIENDS to get $5 off your first order.  I hope you love it too!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Container Store Tampa

I consider myself a bit of a geek when it comes to organization.  I love color-coded file folders, stackable storage boxes and baskets of every kind.  I love to label things and find new ways to maximize my space.  This is especially important because I live in a home the size of a postage stamp, so everything has to be compact and efficient.

My inner organization nerd had a field day today when I attended a blogger-only preview event for the new Container Store that is going to open on Saturday, March 16 in Tampa.



Tampa will be the Container Store's 59th location, and has been the most requested new location on the company's Facebook page.  The Container Store is a mecca for anyone who loves unique storage solutions and fun kitchen and home office supplies.  I went to my first Container Store 13 years ago, and I've been hooked ever since.  I was crazy excited when I learned that Tampa was getting its very own Container Store, and over the moon that I was invited to this special preview!

The blogger preview event was such a treat and they really spoiled us!  We were treated to a great lunch by our local Puff 'n Stuff Catering, and given a detailed overview of the company's history and core values by a member of the marketing team.  We were also given these killer goodie bags filled to the brim with exciting gadgets and storage containers.  I was in seventh heaven!




Goodie bag aside, I was really impressed to hear that the Container Store has been in business since the 1970's and believes that happy employees = happy customers.  Their employees receive an unprecedented 263 hours of training, allowing them to exceed customers' expectations on product knowledge and customer service.  The Container Store truly has an employee-centric business model, which has led them to being named #16 on the latest Forbes 100 Best Places to Work list.  Their employees are not working on commission, so there are no hard-sells or high pressure tactics used.  The only emphasis is on helping customers achieve the best possible solutions for their homes.

The Container Store is 25,000 square feet of multi-functional fun, selling over 10,000 innovative products.  They have everything you can think of, from 45 types of laundry hampers to 700 office products to 80 styles of hangers.  It's a really impressive sight because no other retailer has a selection like this.

The store is hosting its grand opening on March 16 and 17, and they're are tons of reasons why you need to visit.  There will be prize giveaways every hour on the hour, including a $1000 elfa space makeover!  They are also giving $10 gift cards away to the first 100 people to check in on Facebook, which is pretty cool.  In addition, 10% of all opening weekend sales will be donated to the Junior League of Tampa, a wonderful local non-profit organization.  There are so many reasons to shop and enjoy the new store!

And you know how sometimes you're in a huge hurry and don't have time to browse around a HUGE store looking for a few key items?  Well, the Container Store offers their Click & Pickup service, where you can purchase items on their website, then pick them up at the store!  They even have specially designated parking spaces in front of the store (like those Curbside Carryout spaces at restaurants), and the store staff will bring the products out to your car!  How awesome is that?!  I will definitely be taking advantage of that service.

I bet you're dying to see the inside of this store by now.  Well I have pictures, of course!!

A sea of storage containers

A wall of hangers

elfa Closet Organization System

Garage Organization

Colorful Office Storage

Swoon-worthy File Folders

Colorful Food Storage Containers
I <3 kitchen="" supplies="">
I thought I'd died and gone to heaven!  So many ways to organize your home, all under one roof.  Don't walk, RUN to the Container Store this weekend to check out their opening weekend festivities!  The store is open 9am - 9pm Monday - Saturday and 11am to 6pm Sunday.

Many thanks to the wonderful team at the Container Store for the excellent preview today!  It made me want to reorganize my whole house!!

Happy Shopping!

Monday, March 11, 2013

5 Things I Hate About House Hunters

Hello, I'm Kari, and I'm a home show addict. 

I have a problem.  I love watching home buying, home make-over and home DIY shows.  I could watch these shows any time of the day or night, and it drives my husband insane!  He can watch them for awhile, then he has to get up and find something else to do before he goes nuts.  I don't mean to torture the guy with these shows, but I love them!!  I have wild fantasies about making over my house someday, one room at a time.  Yes, that's the kind of thing I fantasize about.

Some of my favorite home design and buying shows are House Hunters, Property Brothers, Love It or List It, Holmes on Homes,  Holmes Inspection and Kitchen/House/Bath Crashers.  Basically, lots of HGTV and DIY Network.  I absolutely love these shows, but some of the people on these shows irritate me.  They can be so unrealistic! 

The one shows that I love to hate is House Hunters.  I've been a loyal viewer for 10 years, and I keep seeing the same things over and over again on the show.  It's fun to watch, but predictable by now, mostly because the people are so much alike.  Oh, you want a big, open concept house with state-of-the-art kitchens and bathrooms for $150k?  Yeah, have fun with that.   I love it, but I always end up having the same beefs with the show. 

Here are the top five things I hate about House Hunters.

1.  People act like they couldn't possibly live in a house without granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.
How many times have I heard this???  There are these couples, most of them very young, who are digusted by the thought of not having stainless steel and granite.  Like, they won't even live in the house for one day until the kitchen gets renovated.  My God, spoiled much??  I have NEVER lived in a home with granite or stainless steel, and I still have a sanitary kitchen that churns out amazing meals.  It's not that bad.  Sure, if I had my druthers, I would have a top-of-the-line kitchen with all of the modern bells and whistles, but sometimes your starter house doesn't have those things.  People need to be more open-minded, especially when they're not playing with a big budget.

Actually, you know what would be fun?  To have a drinking game, where you drink every time someone says "open concept", "granite countertops" or "stainless steel appliances".  I'd be wasted in two shakes of a lamb's tail.

2.  People renovate their houses extensively before they move in.
Some people have enough money to renovate homes before they move in, but a lot of people don't have enough money saved to do that.  If they did, they'd probably just buy a house that was already done rather than spending the money to fix everything immeditely.  Most peoples' homes are works in process, where they are lived in and worked on simultaneously. 

I always want to know where these people and their magical money trees live so I can come on fruit-picking expedition.  I would pluck the money from those trees so fast your head would spin!  All to renovate my new house, of course.

3.  People act like the perfect house exists.
It does not.  I can assure you of that fact.  What's perfect for one family is completely terrible for another, and the search for the perfect house is like searching for the Fountain of Youth.  Don't hold your breath or anything.  The people on House Hunters usually hit this stark reality when nothing they like is in their price range.

4.  People get hung up on things that can be easily changed.
They talk excessively about ugly paint colors, stained carpet, and tattered window treatments.  Guess what?  All of that can be changed with a little bit of elbow grease and a few dollars out of the wallet.  Sure, some of it is just for show, since they need to amp up the factors they dislike about a house, but the reality is that people do this in real life too.  Seriously though, does it matter if the walls are painted canary yellow or beige?  You're just going to come in and change the paint color to slate gray anyway.  It's not worth stressing over.

5.  It's a sham.
Yep, the show is fake.  There, I said it.  My sister was being courted to be on this show about a year ago, and the producers won't even talk to you until you've chosen a property and it's under contract.  The producers then film the property and two other random properties and make it look like you're really choosing between them.  Knowing this has ruined the show for my mom, who refuses to watch it anymore.  Even knowing that the show is fake, I still watch it and rag on it.  Guessing which property the person/couple will choose is still a lot of fun, considering that the people spend lots of time bad-mouthing all of them.

In all honesy, I will continue to enjoy watching these shows.  They're great, easy entertainment and reminds me of what not to do when I look for my next house.  And the rest of the home renovation shows will also be high on my list of must-watches, just for laughs and the chance to guess what people will complain about next.  Do these shows show make for great tv?  Yes.  Do they inspire me to transform my home?  Yes.  So I guess their mission has been accomplished. 

Do you ever watch these shows?  Do you have a favorite?  Does anything bug you about them??

Sunday, March 10, 2013

I Knocked The Weekend Out!

I absolutely adore the weekends (I mean, who doesn't??), and I am ecstatic when I get a lot accomplished.  Maybe it's because I have had some seriously unproductive weekends in recent weeks, but I just love the thought of getting stuff done.  I feel like I really got some big things out of the way this weekend.  I also had some very yummy adult beverages and spent time with friends, so it was a fun weekend all the way around!  Yay me!

Friday was a ridiculously crazy day at work, and I wound up having to stay late.  Boooo!  I finally got out of there, and met Hubs at home.  I got a big bear hug, which was much needed, and we went out for Chicago-style pizza at our favorite local pizzeria.  It was there that I was served this baby...



Yep, Pinot Grigio in a juice glass.  Classy stuff.  I was totally able to overlook the low-brow nature of this barware because it held much more than a typical wine glass.  I cannot, in my right mind, bitch about having more wine than usual, can you??  This wine was delicious and cheap, a delectable double whammy.  After dinner, Hubs and I came home, where he promptly went to bed (the poor dear wasn't feeling well) and I stayed up watching bad reality tv and balancing my checkbook.  I know, I know, a night of insane proportions!  I also tried this guy while I was monitoring my finances, which made the whole experience a little bit better...


I love regular Angry Orchard cider, but this Elderflower version was AMAZING!!  I have to buy more of this, stat.

On Saturday, my mister and I slept in super late and finally woke up to make breakfast tacos and pumpkin streusel toast.  Mmmmm!  We puttered around the house, then I FINALLY got my taxes done!!  I felt like I slayed a dragon by finally getting this off my plate.  Hubs worked on laundry, the way a good little house frou does, and I cleaned up the house.  We then rewarded ourselves with a night out with some of our best pals.  We hit up Tampa Bay Brewing Company for some tasty brews and gluttonous, fattening food.  The highlight of my night was seeing this girl...


That's me and my awesome friend Jessie.  We always have the best time together!  The boys were all hanging out together so we had plenty of time to catch up on our own stuff... and gossip.  So. Much. Fun.  After we got out of there, Hubs and I stopped for Shamrock shakes on our way home, just to make the evening even more unhealthy (completely unnecessary, but worth it).  After we got home, Hubs went to bed and I stayed up to do some late night phone talking with my sister and watch SNL, because Justin Timberlake was hosting and I was NOT going to miss it!!  The episode was "faboosh" and I wished it could have gone on for another hour, since JT is super cute and hilarious.

Sunday morning was a loss for me because I slept through most of it, in the way that only a childless person can.  My ability to sleep in is just one of the factors that has me putting off starting a family.  I just love my sleep that much!  Anyway, after lunch, Hubs finished all of our laundry, then I had to fold it and put it away, a task I hate.  Whatevs, it was over pretty quickly and now I don't need to worry about it.  I also got organized, paid bills, did my grocery shopping, did my menu planning, and talked to my family.  Check, check, check, check and check!  Tonight, Hubs and I ordered Chinese take-out and watched the Michigan State Spartans basketball game and the Philadelphia Flyers hockey game on tv.  It's been a lovely evening with my loving husband and my adorable pup, Bella.  We also finally broke open the bottle of Ommegang Three Philosophers Quadruple Belgian-style beer. 



It was very good, but man, was it ever strong!  Maybe I'm just getting soft in my old age and can't handle the strong stuff like I used to.  I really hope that's not the case!

Sadly, all good things must come to an end.  I'm gearing up to go back to work tomorrow, so I can work hard to get to next weekend.  Then I can have this kind of fun and accomplishment all over again.  I hope y'all have a great week ahead!!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Happy Birthday Swap

One of the many things that I've enjoyed since starting my blog is participating in blog swaps.  I've had the pleasure of being paired with some really amazing bloggers and have gotten some great goodies.  I mean, who doesn't love getting presents in the mail?!

I just signed up to participate in a blog swap hosted by Amber and Vicki, and it's the first one I've done since Fall.  You can say that I'm overdue.  The theme is Favorite Things, so you send your swap partner a box of your favorite items.  Simple enough, right?  Right.


Join in the fun by clicking on the link above and letting the girls know that you're game for the swap.

I hope you can participate!!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Weekend Recap

It's already Monday, and I'm back to reminiscing about a wonderful weekend with my husband.  We had a stressful February, between the unexpected travel, losing a parent, and last minute house guests.  Hubs and I got through it all, but we have felt like we need a break from life.  We don't have the extra funds for a vacation, so we just decided to make the most out of our weekends in March.

On Friday night, instead of staying in and partaking in my usual activity of balancing my checkbook and paying bills (crazy Friday night, I know!), I met up with the Tampa Bay Bloggers at Miguels for amazing Mexican food and margaritas.  It was just what the doctor ordered!  I'd had a rough day, so those margaritas totally hit the spot. 

On Saturday, Hubs and I took Bella for her spa day at the groomer, then we ran a few errands.  We wound up at Olive Garden for soup, salad and breadsticks, which both of us had been craving.  Plus, we had a gift card burning a hole in our pocket, so we took care of that right away!  We then went to pick Bella up and she looked SO CUTE!!  I love her when she's shaggy, but I also love her when she's got a fresh haircut. 

Hey there, pretty girl!

After we brought Bella home, we hung around the house for awhile, then I dragged Hubs to the mall so I could go on a shopping spree.  I had to get dresses for a couple of baby showers, as well as some shorts (hey, it's almost summer here in Florida!) and a couple of items for work.  It was a very successful shopping trip, but now I'm on a self-imposed shopping ban for the rest of March!  We followed it up with a trip to Chili's for more margaritas (I was on a roll this weekend).  It was such a great day!

On Sunday, Hubs and I slept super late and had a nice, lazy day.  In the afternoon, we met up with the Michigan State Alumni Club of Tampa Bay to watch my Spartans take on the University of Michigan Wolverines in basketball.  I had a feeling the Wolverines would be back with a vengance after the major hurt we put on the last month, and miraculously, we only lost by 1 point.  It was a great game, despite my Spartans being a little bit sloppy.  I met some really fun alums at the event, and even won a prize.



It's a Mateen Cleaves bobblehead (he was a central figure on our national championship team from when I was in school there), a lanyard, a pack of Spartans trading cards (not useful), a paper coaster and a MicroClean cell phone wipe.  I was just excited to finally win something at one of these events!

On Sunday night, Hubs and I ordered a pizza and watched The Walking Dead in the comfort of our living room.  It was an awesome evening at home snuggling with a cute boy and Bella, and the perfect close to the weekend.

I hope you have a wonderful week ahead!!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

February Starbox

Being a fan of subscription services, I've gotten my fair share of great products and my fair share of product failures.  One thing I've been searching for is a cosmetic based subscription service that lets me try amazing products that are new to me.  My friend Brittany from The Domestic Geek recently recommended that I give Starbox a try. 

Starbox is a subscription service costing $15 per month that sends you a set of full-size products from their own Starlooks line.  The company compares their products to other high-end brands, and after doing a little research, I was stoked to see what kind of products they would send.  I've found that many companies' proprietary brands are just as good as other more expensive items that I'd find at beauty specialty stores and department stores, and I'm always looking to give new brands a try.

Starbox was gracious enough to send me one of their February boxes to see how I liked it.  The February box was a special box with items recommended by Lauren Clark, a professional make-up artist with some impressive credentials.



Isn't the packaging pretty?!  Here are the items that came inside:


Clockwise starting at top left:
 
Lip Gloss in Pink Oasis ($11)
Pot Eye Liner in Princess Diaries ($15)
HD Fluid Blush in Barbie ($15)
Lip Pencil in Tipsy ($8)
 
When I first opened this box, I thought that all of these colors were fresh and great for Spring.  I also thought that none of these products would ever look good on me.  They weren't the types of colors that I'm typically attracted to, but then I remembered that the point of me getting this box was to try new things.  This box definitely allowed me to do that.
 
Pot eyeliner is something that I have only recently begun experimenting with.  The difference between this and the one that I got from Ipsy was the color:  this one is baby pink!  I decided to put my finger in it to test the consistency, and it felt just like a cream eyeshadow.  So, I used it as an eyeshadow and it looked gorgeous!!  I used it without my usual eyelid primer, and the color stayed all day.  I was really impressed!
 
The HD fluid blush was a brand new product for me.  I've been reading about HD blushes a lot lately, so I know that they are highly pigmented and pack a punch.  I could tell that this product was thick and may not blend well if put directly onto my cheeks, so I followed a tip and dabbed some of this blush on the back of my hand.  I then applied it to the apples of my cheeks using a stippling brush, and I'm so glad I did it this way!!  If I had applied this directly to my cheeks, it would have been WAY too much.  I ended up with a healthy, rosy effect.
 
The lip liner and lip gloss were really interesting.  The lip liner was almost an orange color, and I thought that it would never look good with my fair skin tone.  I was so wrong!  I lined and filled in my lips with it, then applied a little of the lip gloss.  My lips looked great and the color was perfect for Spring!  The lip gloss is called Pink Oasis, but it looks like more of a glittery lavender shade in the tube.  I was really happy that this gloss wasn't glittery at all once it was on my lips.
 
Overall, I was really happy with my first Starbox experience and I can see the appeal to being a monthly subscriber.  The box contained a total of $41 worth of cosmetics which is pretty awesome.  Who doesn't love full-size products for a steal?!  Go to Starlooks.com to check out their pretty product offerings and monthly subscription boxes.

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Tampa, Florida, United States
I'm a wife, daughter and amazing twin sister. I'm a mom to my adorable dog, Bella. Loves: Shopping, cooking, baking, good grammar and Dave Matthews Band. I'm also a Bath and Body Works addict, a Michigan State Spartans fanatic, and an iPhone aficionado. I see beauty in simple things and little things make me ever-so-happy. Welcome to my world!


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